BC Complex Kids – Advocating for their families with passion and patience

Written by Erika Cedillo

I met Brenda, the Director and Founder of BC Complex Kids Society at Inclusion BC’s community gathering for our Kids Can’t Wait campaign in 2019. I remember when she and her son entered the room, a conversation that was about children’s needs and futures became so much more real. They lit up the hearts and minds of everyone there. Fast forward to 2023, BC Complex Kids is now a collective, a registered society, and one of our members.

Without first-hand experience, it’s hard to understand the realities and day-to-day lives of children with health complexities and their families. BC Complex Kids passionately takes on the challenge of educating not only the public but also people in the sector and in the political arenas to make sure their families are seen and understood.

In black and white. A woman touching her nose to her young child who is seated. They are both smiling.

Brenda and her team are working in key spaces both provincially and nationally. These include:

  • Helping to redesign the framework for Children and Youth with Support Needs (CYSN) with the Minister’s Advisory Council of the Ministry of Children and Family Development
  • Participating in the National Advisory Council on Early Learning and Childcare
  • Presenting as a witness at the Senate’s Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology Committee (SOCI) for Bill C-35, the Canadian Early Learning and Child Care Act

Inclusion BC has been working with BC Complex Kids to seek the review and improvement of the Nursing Support Services program which currently does not meet the needs of children and their families in a holistic way.

On top of everyday parenting activities and attempting to enjoy their precious childhoods, each BC Complex Kids family juggles a complex patchwork of services and supports, and they have to put in additional work to make people understand what they are going through. To be able to meet the complex needs of these families many different government bodies need to work together and communicate. In all our work, this is what we insist on.

In the spaces where they participate, Brenda and her team always bring the conversation back to equity. Armed with facts and figures but speaking from the heart, they center their children’s right to thrive and be well supported in their community while making sure that people see the challenges their families face.

It remains a privilege for me to work side by side with Brenda and the members of BC Complex Kids. I am humbled by the trust that they have placed in me. They share their experiences, challenges, and hopes to help me understand their realities. I carry these stories with me as a reminder to myself of who we are doing this for and share them while I advocate for systemic change.

It has become our habit to end our partner meetings with our unofficial motto “we remain hopeful because we have to, and we will persevere.” That is our commitment to one another and all the children with health complexities and their families.


This article was featured in the latest edition of our monthly newsletter, Inclusion in Action. Subscribe today to receive regular updates with stories like this.

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Our approach to advocacy is guided by the United Nations Convention on the Rights of People with Disabilities, which recognizes the full citizenship and human rights of people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Kerridan Dougan, Advocate

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